Shoalhaven (Berry/Nowra)

Select Society

Postal Address:

PO Box 269
Berry NSW 2535

A Big Welcome to our exciting ADFAS Shoalhaven society.

ADFAS – The Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society.

We meet in the wonderful township of Berry and our Focus Days are held at the Nowra Players Theatre. ADFAS is a great place to meet new friends with a shared interest in the Arts. Please remember ADFAS is FUN!

In 2017 ADFAS Shoalhaven will provide a program of nine lectures.  One in-depth Full Focus Day and one Half Focus Day will also be held where topics can be examined in more detail (there is an additional charge for these). New members are always welcome and may join at any time during the year.  No prior knowledge is needed – just an interest in learning more about the arts.


Committee 2017

Heather MacDonald
02 44643553

Vice Chairman:
Dr Keith Houston
02 44642513

Membership Enquiries:
Colleen Fry

Programme for 2017

Thursday 16th February

Jane Austen: Her Life and Work.


The 6 most polished, controlled and elegant social comedies to be found in English Literature were written by a woman whose personal life was unexciting and confined. Jane Austen’s cool judgement, ironic detachment and her genius gave her novels depth and charm and made them some of the most popular novels ever! Jane Austen, it has been estimated, has given more pleasure to more men in bed than any other woman ever!

Susannah Fullerton, President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, shares her passion for Jane Austen’s novels and her interest in her life and times. Slides bring the Regency world to life and readings will remind audiences just how funny Jane Austen can be.

House where Jane Austen died.

House where Jane Austen died.

Thursday 9th March

The History of the Harp: from Mediterranean Antiquity to 20th Century Europe.


Using illustrations from carvings, wall paintings, pottery, mosaics, sculpture, stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, and 18th and 19th century art, Sarah traces the history of one of the world’s most ancient and beloved musical instruments from thousands of years BC to its arrival in northern Europe, including the huge developments and improvements during the Renaissance and 19th centuries that created the highly mechanised and beautiful instrument we see played in orchestras and as solo instruments today.  Performing on her own reproduction and antique instruments, Sarah will demonstrate the development and evolving sound and repertoire of the harp throughout its history.

Irish Coat of Arms

Irish Coat of Arms

Egyptian Wall painting with Harp

Egyptian Wall painting with Harp

Thursday 6th April

Tribal Arts and Religion in Indonesia.


Indonesia’s astounding textile and tribal sculptural traditions illustrate the rich diversity of this nation of more than 200 cultures. Large and small ethnic groups have produced their own unique styles, in accordance with varying religious and social roles of art. Despite this diversity, there are common themes in the art that show how common social patterns evolved across the archipelago. Some of the ancestral figures depicted in tribal sculptural traditions are also depicted in textile art. The women who created Indonesia’s rich textile traditions have used motifs such as mythical creatures, boats and fertility signs to present connections between ancestors and daily life.

Indonesian Elaborate Carving

Indonesian Elaborate Carving

Thursday 18th May

The Whole Art of the Book.


Why was the best paper made from the worn out clothes of peasants? Why did leather have to be tanned outside the city walls? Why is gold leaf so thin that it is measured in atoms and cannot be touched with the hands? Why do printers have to do everything upside down and backwards? Why did gold finishers get paid more than other bookbinders despite not washing their hair? And why is the art of bookbinding itself, surely the most complex of all hand crafts, as beguiling and enchanting today as it was when it was invented on the banks of the Nile 2,000 years ago. This lecture is a ‘Through the Round Window’ for grown-ups, and tells the fascinating story of everything that makes a traditional hand bound book.

Dominic Riley Book Cover

Dominic Riley Book Cover

HALF FOCUS DAY: Nowra Players Theatre

Friday 19th May

Design Matters: The Creation of Fine Bindings plus a Demonstration of Bookbinding.


With the advent of the Arts and Crafts movement bookbindings became works of art in themselves.  Dominic is one of a small number of bookbinders working today who create these unique Design Bindings. This lecture shows a range of these contemporary bindings, made variously for collectors, exhibitions, competitions, libraries and the occasional Booker shortlisted author. He will show how each design grows from a response to the text and illustrations of the printed book, and explain the technical aspects of their execution. He will also bring some of his Design Bindings for people to view.

Thursday 15th June

Gardens of Love: Persian Poetry and its Admirers.


Classic love stories found in Persian poetry have been told and retold by generations of poets in the Persian cultural sphere for centuries. Although Persian literature remains relatively little known in the West, its tales of love in all its guises are echoed in works of Chaucer and Shakespeare and in the lyrics of rock stars.

This illustrated talk will explore the beauty of Persian poetry and the vibrant tales of human and divine love seen in luxury manuscripts made for the enjoyment of the elite courts of Iran and its neighbouring empires from the 11th century on.

Persian Manuscript

Persian Manuscript

Thursday 20th July

Landscapes into Art: Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Long and David Nash.


During the late 1970’s a group of British sculptors emerged who made work by altering natural elements in the landscape rather than by representing them as images in the studio. Andy Goldsworthy created small poetic configurations of leaves and stones that sometimes resembled miniature bird-nests. David Nash used a chain-saw to transform whole trees into sculptures in ways that seemed a half-way house between natural and man-made forms.  Richard Long undertook long walks that he punctuated by carrying out pre-programmed actions such as moving a heap of stones into a line or creating a circle in the landscape.

The talk will place the three sculptors in the context of other international artists such as Robert Smithson, Walter de Maria, Giuseppe Penone and James Turrell. The speaker will explain the artists’ debt to the earlier traditions of romantic landscape art. He will also talk about the sculptors’ links to other artists using performance and installations as a way of circumventing the physical and commercial constraints of galleries. As a former curator, he has shown the work of all three sculptors whose work will be the focus of the talk.

Andy Goldsworthy Land Art Rock Creation

Andy Goldsworthy Land Art Rock Creation

FULL FOCUS DAY: Nowra Players Theatre

Friday 21st July

Behind the Grand Tour – the Age of Enlightenment in Britain.


The first talk will examine how the pan-European celebration of reason, order and harmony and the search for new rules and models of behaviour influenced the development of neo-classicism in Britain. It will compare the European emphasis on anti-monarchical and anti-clerical ideas to Georgian Britain where political groupings developed that were independent and critical of the Crown. It will show how the more liberal political climate was matched by the earlier and less dogmatic adoption of neo-classical ideas by figures such as Lord Burlington, William Kent and Colen Campbell. This created a more eclectic cultural response that enabled Britain to alternate between classical imagery and oriental and rococo figures.

The second talk will show how this eclecticism was reinforced by Britain’s supremacy in trade and industry. It will describe the development of new forms of expression from Chinese and Indian influences on English gardening and porcelain to the shocking imagery of the new ironworks in Coalbrookdale. The third talk will contrast the work of Joseph Wright of Derby to the classical ideals of Reynolds and the rococo influences of Gainsborough. It will examine how Britain’s creation of ‘picturesque’ and ‘sublime’ landscapes provided further challenges to neo-classicism. It will conclude by looking at the transition from ‘sense’ to ‘sensibility’ in the work of Wordsworth and Turner. In doing so it will demonstrate how the challenges of the American and French revolutions led Britain to turn its back on the liberal ideas that had been associated with the ’Age of Wonder’ and the ‘republican neo-classicism’ that it now associated with the continent.

Thursday 17th August

The Bauhaus.


The Bauhaus was the most innovative and influential school of design in the 20th century, combining avant-garde ideas about abstract art with a thoroughly conscientious approach to social reform and domestic living. Employing some of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century (including Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee) the school combined an interest in nature with faith in industrial design, revolutionising art education and yielding a range of classic designs that still have an impact on the style of our everyday lives. The lecture will also explore the link between the Bauhaus and Australia: one influential Bauhaus teacher, Ludwig Hirschfeld Mack, emigrated to Australia in 1940 and taught art and design at Geelong Grammar School for 15 years.

The Bauhaus School of Design building

The Bauhaus School of Design building

Wassily Kandinsky Composition

Wassily Kandinsky Composition

Thursday 21st September

To the Far Side of the World: Captain James Cook and the Enlightenment.


An artistic and cultural appreciation of the three remarkable voyages of Captain Cook and their impact on the Age of Enlightenment. The lecture shows how Cook was a far-sighted open-minded explorer, ahead of his time, and features the wonderful drawings and paintings of Sydney Parkinson, William Hodges, John Webber, George Stubbs and Johan Zoffany – pictures and ideas that changed the European view of the world and its attitude towards ‘the noble savage’ as epitomised by Polynesian, Maori and Aboriginal cultures.

Portrait of Captain Cook

Portrait of Captain Cook

Self Portrait by Sydney Parkinson, botanical illustrator

Self Portrait by Sydney Parkinson, botanical illustrator

Thursday 26th October

Nefertiti: Images of Ancient Egypt’s most intriguing queen.


Nefertiti is arguably the most famous queen of pharaonic Egypt. Her bust displayed in Berlin is iconic. She was the Chief Royal Wife of the Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (c1352-c1336 BC), and together they continue to fascinate. Intriguing changes appear in the art and religion of this period of Egypt’s history – peculiar representations of the royal family, and an attempt at monotheism in what was traditionally a polytheistic society. The female members of this royal family were exceptional. In this lecture I shall examine the various roles (including political and cultic) played by Nefertiti and the other royal women of the time, and how these were expressed in stunning artistic representation.

Bust of Nefertiti

Bust of Nefertiti

Thursday 16th November

AGM and Party – Berry Court House

Venue and Time of Lectures

Unless indicated elsewhere, lectures are held on Thursday evenings at the Uniting Church Hall, Albert Street, Berry, NSW and start at 7.30 pm; a light supper and a glass of wine or juice is served at the conclusion of the lecture.


The annual subscription fee is $140 per person, which includes the ADFAS Bulletin.

There is a $10 badge fee for new members.

Full Focus Days are $60 members and $70 non-members, with morning tea and lunch.

Half Focus Days are $35 members and $40 non-members including morning tea and 2 lectures.


Visitors are most welcome, $25 fee applies.

Members unable to attend a lecture may transfer use of their badge to a non- member (visitor fee of $10).  This is subject to presentation of the membership badge on the night.

The fee for members of other ADFAS Societies is $10.

Membership between Societies is not transferrable.

 Download our Guide on “How to use ADFAS-Shoalhaven’s Library Catalogue”

Shoalhaven Newsletters

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About ADFAS Shoalhaven

About ADFAS Shoalhaven

  • ADFAS Shoalhaven is a branch of an Australia-wide organisation bringing to the community information about the decorative and fine arts.
  • ADFAS enables you to explore the arts and meet others who have similar interests.
  • ADFAS is one of 35 similar societies in Australia and is linked to the international organisation which has over 300 societies in the UK and Europe . Many of the lecturers come from the UK through our links with the UK organisation NADFAS .
  • ADFAS has a library of art books for loan to members.
  • ADFAS TRAVEL offers highly successful guided tours in Australia and overseas.

What are Lectures About?

The monthly lectures cover a wide range of subjects such as architecture, gardens, music, painting, sculpture, pottery, literature, and heraldry and art history.

The lecturers – authors, curators and exhibitors of world renowned art – are recognised experts in their field and are skilled in presenting informative and stimulating lectures – always with a good dose of humour.

When and Where are Lectures Held?

There are eight lectures each year held from March to October . Lectures take place at the BerrySchool of Arts, Alexandra Street, Berry , NSW commencing at 7:30pm . A light supper is served at the end of the lecture when members socialize and meet the guest speaker .

How can I join ADFAS Shoalhaven?

Membership is open to people with an interest in the arts generally . The annual subscription fee is $120 per person and includes the ADFAS Bulletin. There is a $10 joining fee for new members. Non-members and members’ guests may attend lectures for $25 per lecture . The fee for members of other ADFAS Societies, who come to our lectures is $10 . Membership between Societies is not transferrable .

For membership please contact David Cash at or 02 4441 7025

Also Offered to ADFAS Members

In addition to lectures, two full special interest days are held at the Nowra Players Theatre, Bomaderry when the speaker presents a more in-depth talk on a specific subject .

ADFAS members, when travelling in Australia or overseas, are welcome to attend lectures at other branches for a small fee

More about ADFAS

ADFAS aims to foster the increasing interest in the decorative and fine arts, to cultivate their appreciation and study, and to encourage the preservation of our cultural and artistic heritage .

All ADFAS societies are incorporated and are run on a voluntary non-profit basis by a committee of management.

Members pay an annual fee to cover the cost of providing lectures and the running of the societies. Any surplus is used to support creative arts in whatever way each society sees fit, but with a particular emphasis on “Arts for the Young’.

All ADFAS societies belong to the national Association of Australian Decorative and Fine Arts, Inc. AADFAS, which was formed in 1989.

NADFAS Twin Society - Blockley



2012 marks the 500th anniversary of the birth of Katherine Parr, the 6th wife of Henry VIII, who lived the last years of her life at Sudeley Castle at Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, died and was buried there.

There will be festivities year long at Sudeley and Winchcombe.

Katherine was 30 and twice widowed when she married Henry VIII but not the sober, pious middle-aged woman in black who read great deal and was kind to the royal children as she was generally portrayed. She was beautiful, radical  and highly intelligent. After Henry’s death she hastily and secretly married her old flame the dashing and rakish Sir Thomas Seymour and moved to his estate, Sudeley Castle, accompanied by her husband’s ward Lady Jane Grey. This was not before rumours spread through the Court about Seymour’s open flirtation with Katherine’s own step-daughter, the young Princess Elizabeth. Tragically Katherine died after giving birth to her only child.

ADFAS members Australia-wide, and particularly Shoalhaven members would be most welcome.

More information regarding next year’s events at Sudely Castle can be found